Sreejith death case turns murkier

SIT to investigate alleged custodial torture of the youth taken into custody on Friday

April 10, 2018 11:21 pm | Updated April 11, 2018 03:44 pm IST - Kochi

 BJP workers blockading the National Highway at Varappuzha as part a hartal called in protest against the death of Sreejith on Tuesday.

BJP workers blockading the National Highway at Varappuzha as part a hartal called in protest against the death of Sreejith on Tuesday.

The controversy over the arrest of Sreejith, 26, who died at a private hospital after being arrested by the police, has turned murkier with the complainant in the case claiming the youth’s arrest as a case of mistaken identity.

Suggesting that the police wrongly arrested Sreejith, the complainant, identified as K.V. Vineesh, on Tuesday said that he did not see the deceased youth among the attackers.

“The Sreejith about whom I complained was another person bearing the same name and staying in the same locality. The police are yet to arrest any of the main accused as per our complaint,” Mr. Vineesh said.

Complainant’s claim

He said he had never made any complaint against S.R. Sreejith, the deceased youth, or his brother Sajith.

“We could identify six of the 14-member gang that attacked us. Sreejith who died at a hospital at Cheranellor on Monday was not among the attackers,” Mr. Vinish said.

The police, on the other hand, sought to refute the claim and held that they arrested the same person as mentioned in the complaint.

“We have a signed copy of Vineesh’s statement, which clearly mentions the deceased youth as one of the accused. We had also taken statements of all the victims before commencing the investigation and all the accused were identified with the help of those living in their neighbourhood,” said A.V. George, District Police Chief, Ernakulam Rural.

K.M. Vasudevan, 54, a native of Devaswompadam, committed suicide on Friday after a gang forcefully entered his house and reportedly assaulted and threatened him over a scuffle with a neighbour the previous night.

The Varappuzha police took Sreejith into custody from his house at 10.30 p.m. the same day. His mother said the police assaulted him in front of her while being taken to the police station and also did not allow her to meet him .

He was admitted to a private hospital at 3.45 a.m. on Sunday with complaints of stomach ache and difficulty in passing urine.

The doctors assessed him and performed a surgery immediately after detecting internal injury to his small intestine.

Thereafter he was in the emergency care unit. However, his condition worsened on Monday noon and he died at 6.45 p.m.

The police have formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the death of Sreejith.

State Police Chief Loknath Behera tasked Additional Director General of Police, South Zone, Anil Kanth to head the team. Crime Branch Inspector General of Police S. Sreejith will be the principal investigator.

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